I was a bus driver for Madera’s school district for 20 years. I am now retired and when I heard about recent bullying problems I saw on “Good Morning America” that were going on, especially on school buses, I got concerned.
I went to bus driver training school, and I didn’t know about bullies at that time. My training was a very fun experience for me. We were taught about safety laws on the bus.
When I started my first route it was fun, I really enjoyed my job, but with that came responsibility, one being to keep order on the bus besides keeping each student safe. When it comes to bullies, you have to stop it on the first day of school, the first day of assigned route or at the first sight of one. How do you stop it?
You have to have eyes in the back of your head. Over time, the students soon believe you do have eyes in the back of your head. You must be aware of what is happening on your bus at all times.
Students must know your bus rules and regulations and abide by them. If they don’t, you must discipline them. You cannot let students walk over you or they will continue to do so. You must take action at every offense; you cannot let things go by or take the easy route out and act like you didn’t see or hear it going on.
That’s what I think the problems are for today’s bus drivers: They ignore the problems going on. They fear losing their jobs, so they do not want to speak up and stand for what’s right. I understand leadership qualities are not in every person and some do not have the guts to take the front line, but you were hired to do your jobs, and by letting this go on, you are not doing your job. There should be no fear in losing your job if you are doing your job correctly.
Therefore, when you see it, you stop it, on day 1, 2, 3 or anytime it happens, you stop it. If that doesn’t work and you’re still having problems with bullies on your bus, then go to the principal. Do not be afraid of speaking up to someone else if you have problems because if it gets to the point where it really is out of hand, then you’re going to wish you would have spoken up earlier.
I am again concerned that this bullying problem is getting out of hand everywhere it is happening by its being ignored, overlooked or not yet noticed. I hope this is under control and the right steps are being taken to raise awareness in the schools and public to counter this problem, not just in the Central Valley area but also all over California. The key to stopping bullies is on the first sight or sign of them. If we all do our part, bullies will become a thing of the past.
Former mayor supports Soldani
I would like to take this opportunity to express my strong support for Joseph Soldani, who is running for Superior Court judge, who by the way is already doing the job, and doing it very well.
It is no wonder that most if not all of his peers are supporting him, as is the majority of the law enforcement community.
I first met Judge Soldani several years ago when I was still serving the city as chief of police. He was a prosecuting attorney for the County of Madera, and we were always pleased when we knew he would be handling a case. He has a great knowledge of the law and how to apply it. His conviction rate was exceptional and he was fair to everyone.
When I left the city to travel for a while we lost contact, but when I returned I served two terms on the City Council, including two terms as mayor. I was extremely pleased to find that Judge Soldani was then serving as the city attorney. I was very glad to have his advice and direction on a vast variety of issues involving the city. We always knew that his advice would be accurate and to the point. He was invaluable in keeping us always within our legal limits.
But there is more to being a Superior Court Judge than a law degree. It requires the wisdom that comes only from experience in the judicial system. He must maintain decorum in the courtroom and fastidiously protect the rights of all parties involved. He must be fair and unbiased and then decide guilt or innocence or guide the jury through what can sometimes be a complicated process.
I could go on and on but I think you get the picture. Please join me on election day and cast a winning ballot for Joseph Soldani.
Gordon E. Skeels,
A political sign with little meaning
I drove past a political sign that’s new to me — “conservative farmer,” it says — and for a moment I felt as if I understand how words can become emptied of any sense of difference or questioning — how words can become weapons of blindness and despair.
Then I catch my breath and read a few “For Rent” signs and feel that life is on its way again to be worth living — but don’t ask me why.